Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I went grocery shopping yesterday and one of the guys that works there is an avid fisherman. So I asked him "Do you fish the secret lake". "Sure" was his response, "doesn't everybody". I tackled him right there in the aisle and made him tell me how to fish the lake.  

He was probably the 12th person I talked with that knew this "secret" lake. Guess it's not so secret after all.

0700 this morning I headed up the hill with a stop for coffee and crawlers at the Shell station in Pioneer. This time I looked at the crawlers and made sure they were alive and they were.

Got to secret lake #3 which is now and forever know as (name removed to protect the innocent) just before 0800. Since it's not so secret, might as well call a spade a spade. I walked over to the inlet and set one rod up with a white Power Egg and a crawler (and a little air) on a slip sinker rig and put it out some 50 feet.

Then I rigged up my little Okuma with the smallest hook I had, the smallest split shot, and stuck a cricket on the hook. Yes, a cricket purchased from Petco yesterday after shopping.

Interesting story about purchasing crickets at Petco. Walked in the door and asked the girl at the counter if I could get some crickets. She asked if I wanted 7, 14, or 30. Oh, definately 30. She pointed below where I was standing and there was a blown up bag with a 30 on it and a small black spot on the bottom, inside. I guess there were 30 microscopic crickets in the bag, but I sure couldn't see them. Then I asked her if they had some big enough to fit on a fishing hook. She made a call and I walked out with the same size bag, but with crickets I could see.

First cricket out and fish on! Now I realize that this picture below looks like a minnow, but that's because it looks like I took the picture from a half mile away. I was just standing up when I took the shot. The fish was actually around 9 inches.

First fish of the day
I bent over and got a closer shot. Looks more like a 9 inch trout now. This one went back for another day.

Same fish
Second cricket and fish on! This time it was a hair bigger. 14 1/2 inches to be exact. This one went on the stringer. I'll explain later.

Second fish of the day
Third cricket and fish on! This one was about 12 inches and it too went on the stringer. While I'm thinking about it, I got a shipment from Cabela's today and one of the things I ordered was a Stream Works Zinger with a measuring tape. Now when I catch a fish (while I have my fishing vest on) I can measure it before putting it back.

Three fish on the first three crickets. Man, was I stoked and just as fast as I was up, the bite came crashing down. 0830 and I'd already landed 3 nice browns. The next one came an hour and a half later (1000). I had stopped with the crickets and went with a crawler, then half a crawler because the other half flew out into the lake, but half a crawler was all I needed. It was another 12 incher and went on the stringer. Then in the next half hour while fighting off a zillion meat bees, I managed one more on a cricket, but put it back as it was another 9 incher. I packed up my stuff and made a dash for the truck. For some reason they followed almost all the way to the truck. Must have been the Power Bait I dabbed behind my ears.   

OK, the stringer. I'm collecting a half dozen or so browns for the smoker and had hoped to get a limit (5) today, but I'll have to go another day. I cleaned them and after they freeze, I'll get the Food Saver out and vacuum them till I can get a couple more. Smoked Brown Trout. That ought to be good.  

Maybe I'll force myself to run up there once more this week. It's not even as far as Bear River Reservoir. I'll let you know.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Computer Dump

Sometime last Friday my computer took a dump. Let me clarify that, not just my laptop, but the desktop downstairs, my wife's laptop, and my laptop. It was so bad that even the IT wife couldn't get it back online. Now that's bad. I had no Internet, I couldn't access my files and folders, basically I had nothing. This morning she called our Internet provider and according to them "everything was OK".

After checking all the IT stuff she does, the only option was to reinstall a backup from last Friday. I don't know how all this stuff works except that I'm up and running and don't think I lost anything. At least I haven't found anything missing yet.

So, to start off your week, let me give you another short story from the annals (a concise form of historical representation which record events) of the stupid kid who survived growing up.

Story #6 - Drain Pipes.

In Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair ere isHchapter 5 I talked about where a drain canal poured out into a lake. Here is the paragraph: This drain poured out into a small man made lake that eventually emptied into the Intercoastal Waterway. I don’t recall ever fishing the lake, but I do know there were gar fish in it and probably several other species of fish. Just outside the lake, we fished for snook and other fish that resided in the waterway. What I didn’t mention about this lake was how they made it. The optimal way to create land was to use a dredge to open up a lake by sucking the sand and shooting it up onto land creating high ground. Now this kind of activity was just the thing to attract a young boy and his friends. Why you ask? First and foremost it was wet, sloppy, and it stunk. It was perfect for young boys because as we were told on more than one occasion, boys are gross.
So, as the gross boys we were, we ran across where they just piled wet sand until we sank up to our knees in the, well I guess you could call it quick sand. See sand, being porous as it is, doesn’t get solid until the water brought up during the dredging process has a chance to drain away leaving the area mushy. It was great fun for young boys. The thing that never crossed our minds is what if we sank beyond our knees?

Right about this same time, at the point where the drain/canal ran under Hillsborough Boulevard, the storm drain project was going on. Twenty-four and thirty-six inch storm concrete drain pipes were being installed parallel to the boulevard and about five feet deep diverting water from “wherever” and dumping into the drain/canal that flowed into the lake and finally the Intercoastal Waterway. Cool, places for young boys to explore. We always had a supply of candles and matches, mostly shoplifted from the local convenience store (I never said I was good boy, just never killed anyone), to use in our “forts” or, in the case, exploring drain pipes. 

Now a twenty-four and thirty-six inch storm concrete drain pipe doesn’t give you anywhere to turn around. It is straight in and back out unless you make it to the place, you know the box under the man hole cover, and then you can do an about face. But you don’t know how far away that is when you start into the pipe. Ten feet, fifteen feet, twenty feet in and claustrophobia starts to set in. Once it gets a good hold on you, then panic sets in and once panic sets in the only place you want to be is not in that concrete pipe. There is a lot of screaming, pushing, and shoving to get out. Of course the most logical thing to happen is you drop the candle and the flame goes out leaving you in total darkness. Then you really start to panic. But once you get out, you’re cool again and making plans for the next siege of the concrete tunnel. Who said young boys are smart. 

Well, that'll do it for today. Fishing later in the week.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Well, That Was A Flop

Like I said yesterday, maybe I'll go back up in the morning. That would be this morning and I went up.

Stopped at the Shell Station in Pioneer and got a cup of coffee (maybe that will work) and a carton of night crawlers. Look out browns, here I come.

Got to Secret Lake #3 at 0830 with intentions of fishing the inlet, tied a #6 bait hook on my Okuma with 2 pound test, added a white Power Egg for a little flotation and opened the crawler carton. What I found was dead, slimy, moldy something that was once night crawlers. Now I know better and I should have looked at the crawlers before I left the store, but like the bonehead I sometimes am, I trusted they would be fat and sassy. Just goes to show you.

So I reverted to my tackle box and threw out some rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig on my rod with 4 pound test and put a 1/4 oz black Panther Martin on my Okuma. The black one was what produced that one brown back on the 2nd. I proceeded to lose the Panther Martin to some trees and came to find out it was the only black one I had. Note to self: order more Panther Martins. I put on a yellow PM with silver spinner, but nothing happened. Changed to an assortment of colors of Kastmasters and nothing there either. Went to the other side and fished there with no results. The crawlers must be some kind of omen, but wait! there's more.

Left Secret Lake #3 and went to Secret Place #2. All these secret places, but I am sworn to secrecy. The water level was some what lower and I was able to fish where I wanted, but had to stand knee deep in the water instead of waist deep like it was back on the 2nd. Yesterday at the lake, the water was 49 degrees. Today where I was standing the water must have been just short of 32 degrees. It took less than 5 minutes for my legs below the knees and my feet to go numb, but being the die hard I am (or maybe stupid fisherman) I persisted. Can you imagine what it would have been like if I was waist deep. Shudder the thought.

I fished a yellow Panther Martin, multiple colors of Kastmaster, and even sunk to the depths of throwing out rainbow Power Bait (remember this is brown country) in hopes that some not so smart brown would bite. I even gave an F7 Rapala in German Brown color a try and managed to hang it up on a rock in the middle of the river. Only option was to break the line. That hurt.

After a half hour of frozen legs and feet, I stumbled out of the water, picked up my gear, and stumbled back in the direction of my truck. By the time I did get to the truck, I could feel my foot when it hit the ground. Now I know how Long John Silver felt except in my case it was both peg legs.

I stopped back at the Shell Station and after a 10 minute argument and a call to the manager I got my $2.50 back for the dead crawlers. I did check 4 boxes in the fridge and they were all alive and kicking. I must have gotten the only bad box.

So, like the title says, that was a flop.

Till next time.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Creek Crossed Off The Tenkara List

Back on August 2nd I went to secret spot #3 (remember I'm sworn to secrecy with threat of death) with Roy and Don. We didn't catch anything that day, but Don went back since and reported a guy with a stringer of browns caught on crickets and that Kastmasters were taking some fish.  

I decided that I would take a run up there this morning and give it a try. I got to the lake at 0815 (and I have to note right up front that I didn't stop for coffee) and rigged up my 6wt fly rod. My plan was to fish a bead head Thin Mint at the inlet and if that didn't work, a nymph under an indicator.

The Thin Mint didn't produce anything and when I changed to the nymph, I used a size 10 Keystone Brown with the idea that something fat and juicy might entice a brown to bite.  I didn't get any interest on the Keystone Brown, but I might have gotten one of those "you weren't paying attention when the line slapped the rod" hits, but when I looked there wasn't any change in the line, so I'm not sure if something happened or not. Obviously I didn't catch anything.  

On the way out I stopped at the little stream that runs along the side of the road. I mentioned that this would be prime Tenkara water and look at the pictures below, see for yourself


Well, it might look like prime Tenkara water, but there wasn't a fish to be found. I fished 100 yards upstream and 100 yards downstream and didn't see anything that looked like a fish, or anything that looked like anyone had ever been fishing on the creek. There is a possibility that there could be fish further downstream because it runs into the lake above secret spot #2, but the canyon is all but inaccessible. 

I don't know if you are fans of John Sanford, but I'm currently reading a novel called Shock Wave. The main character is a guy named Virgil Flowers. He makes a statement (keep in mind this guy investigates murders with a boat attached to the back of his truck) about taking your fly fishing gear with you because, if you have it and don't need it that's OK, but if you need it and don't have it, well you get the idea. Prophetic words if I've ever heard them, but he didn't say anything about spinning gear. Today I left mine at home and I could have stopped at secret spot #2 and possibly have hooked up with a brown or two, but I didn't have my spinning gear with me. Maybe I'll go back up in the morning and give it a go.

OK, that's it for today.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Story #7 - Another Shark Story

OK, the last one was a little dorky so here's one I think you'll like better. 

Remember the chapter in Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother's Gray Hair on shark fishing and what we did with the shark afterward? Well I forgot one episode. Typical night on the pier doing the stupid things like swimming out the bait or just swimming while waiting for the shark to pick up the bait that you swam out. 

Warm summer nights, guys and girls making out as young teens do. Kids just being kids. South of the pier there was a luxury hotel. I don’t recall the name, but it was about ten stories, right on the beach and it had a pool. Well this particular night we thought it would be fun to put a big shark in the pool.

The one we caught was close to nine feet in length and after dragging it to the hotel and putting it in the pool it was almost dead so we had to walk it around the pool for a while to get it to swim again. 

Of course we had to stick around until morning to see what happened. What happened was a guy came out, jumped on the diving board and in mid-air saw the shark. I don’t believe he even touched the water, but we were laughing so hard we missed most of what happened.

Oh yes, we were evil. 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Story #4 - The Coveted BB Gun

Have you ever watched Christmas Story with Darrin McGavin, Melinda Dillon, and Peter Billingsley? At the beginning of the movie they are downtown at the Christmas parade. Downtown Kenosha looked just like that at Christmas time. The street looked the same, the department Santa looked the same, and the official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle was what I wanted for Christmas, every Christmas. Doesn’t every kid want a BB gun? 

After all I was weaned on a 12-gauge shotgun my dad let me shoot when I went pheasant hunting with him one time. I aimed at the ground and shot the branches off the tree. I think I ended up on the ground too. Hell, I was only 8 or 9. My dad is probably still laughing about that one. Did I get the official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle? Nope, everyone said “You'll shoot your eye out”.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Final Tenkara Spot On The List

I had six spots where I wanted to focus on and use my Tenkara rod. Today I fulfilled the sixth and last one. My wife had to be at work early this morning so I took the opportunity of being up before the crack of dawn and headed over to the road to Wrights Lake off Highway 50 (the highway to Lake Tahoe).  

My objective was to fish Tenkara on Lyons Creek and Silver Creek which both cross under the road on the way to the lake. I've fished both creeks in the past and they were always good for a couple of fish, but when I got there, boy was I disappointed. The first stop was Lyons Creek and it was almost dry. Hard to realize that the last time I was here, I got stuck in the snow and it took me four hours to dig out. Being the die hard I am, I got out my Tenkara rod, put on my vest, and started upstream if you could call it that. 

Upstream from the bridge

Downstream from the bridge
The only surprise of the day was that the water temperature, even though there was barely water in the creek was 55.8 degrees. 

Turn around point
I walked up to the picture above and at that point is was senseless to go any further.

I got back to the truck and drove up to Silver Creek and it had less water than Lyons. I doubt there will be any fish in these two creeks any time soon, if ever again. A sad time indeed.

Plan B was to drive back to where the South Fork of the American crosses Highway 50 at Crystal Basin Rd and fish there. As I dropped into the little town (there is one store and one motel) of Kyburz, I detoured up Silver Fork Rd. I thought maybe I could fish the section of the river that Glenn and I were heading for when we ran into the logging guys back on July 10th. Well, the logging guys were still there, but not in the way so I found a spot and headed to the river.

I fished a good mile (via various accesses) of the river and I only got one hit and run and of course it came as I was distracted by something or other and I missed it.      

Disclaimer and excuses: It was hot and the fish weren't biting. I didn't get to Silver Fork until 10:30 and the sun  was already on the water. I didn't use the right fly. The moon was in the wrong phase for catching.

Whine, whine, whine. OK, I'll say it. I got skunked. There. I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Next Tuesday is the annual potluck for the Amador Flyfishers Club. It's being held at Lake Tabeaud and you know how I hate that lake, but I'm going anyway. On top of that, I'm taking the Float Tube Cumberland and plan on launching it after the feast. Since it'll be late in the day and I've got secret information as to where the big browns hang out (fish finder reliable) I'm going to see if one won't take an offered Bugger or Thin Mint.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Story #3 Al Capone Days

This is a short one.

My Dad was born in April 1907. He was in his 20’s in the 30’s. He used to hang out in the bars and pool halls in downtown Kenosha and occasionally would wander up to Madison. I mean, what else was there to do in the 1930’s? 

One place he used to frequent, and I’m only guessing here, was probably the Plaza Tavern in Madison, Wisconsin and the guy behind the bar was named Frank “Moon” Molinaro a person famous enough to be listed with the Wisconsin Historical Society. My dad knew him, was friends with him, hung out with him. I’m not sure If you’re a Happy Days fan then you know the name Al Molinaro (Big Al), one of Frank’s sons. A small country this is. 

Let’s move on to Chicago. Remember, this is the time of Al Capone, Prohibition, and Tommy Guns. When my dad wasn’t hanging out in Kenosha or Madison, he’d wandered down to Cicero or Chicago and hung out with or knew a guy named “Three Fingered” Jack White. Never heard of the guy? He was said to only have three fingers and when he wore gloves would stuff the empty two with cotton.

He had quite the stellar career. To start with, he was one of Al Capone’s boys. From his first trip to Joliet Penitentiary in 1919 until he was gunned down in his apartment on January 23rd, 1934, he was in and out of jail. Some even claim that William “three fingered Jack” White was behind the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, but there is little proof of this. 

So with all this going on in his life, when did my dad have time to hang out with him? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s just a family story.  

Till next time. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hot Enough For You?

I know everybody in the country has been blasted with this Summer heat so I thought I share yesterday with you.

The wife and I went to Sacramento (Folsom actually which is east of Sac) yesterday do to a little shopping and to have a birthday (mine on the 8th) dinner. We ate at the Kabob House which is Greek food at it's finest. But this is not about the Lemon Garlic Chicken or Lamb Kabobs or the chocolate mousse for dessert, its about the weather.

The weather guessers were saying that yesterday was going to be the hottest day so far this year. Guestamation was 106. Good enough as long as you have air conditioning in your house, car, and any store you're going to be in.

Got the shopping done, had a nice lunch/dinner at the Kabob House and started home. The temperature started at 103 in the parking lot and as we moved South (toward home) it started rising. Pretty soon it was 106, then 109, then 110. Wait, there's more. Then it went from 111 to 112 to 113 and stayed there until we were about 20 miles out of town. Then it dropped down to 109 and shortly thereafter was back at 113 until we started up the mountain.

OK, so you guys say "No big deal because you've got no humidity", right?

We have this thing that comes up out to the Gulf of Mexico called Monsoonal Moisture. Rains from the gulf up through Arizona and Southern California into Northern California, but mainly hugs the mountains. Yes, we are in the mountains. Sometimes it rains here, sometimes is doesn't, but when this happens and it doesn't rain, the humidity can jet from 15% to 50% in a heartbeat and that's what it did yesterday. Up on top of the mountains you could see massive thunder heads and on Doppler Radar where it was raining.

I agree, it's not 90% humidity (and I've experienced that in Wisconsin and Florida) but 113 and 50% humidity....... Trust me, when I got home I was hugging the air conditioner. Pretty funny watching two grown adults fighting over who can get closer to the A/C. Just kidding.

At the house (3200 feet elevation) my estimate it was probably 102/103. Our hottest time of the day is 3:00pm and we weren't home then to check, but today we're in a cooling trend. Instead of 106 in Sacramento it's only supposed to be 104 so we'll be cruising at 100+ up here. And me? I'll be hugging the A/ C once again.

Fishing mid next week.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Story #2 The Day I Disappeared

Some are going to be long and some short. This one is short.

Then there was the day I disappeared. Remember this was Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, in the 1950’s and things like that just didn’t happen. We roamed the streets at all hours of the day and night. A summer evening was spent playing “kick the can”. If you don’t know this game, it’s like hide and seek except you get in free by running into the middle of the street (no traffic problems in rural American in those days) and kicking the big juice can before the person who was “it” tagged you. 
The biggest crime that occurred, in my entire nine years of life, was Johnny Meisner’s dad got robbed and beat up in his driveway. The Meisner’s lived down the street about six houses and around the corner. We didn’t have CNN or CNBC covering every killing, mugging, or protest like we do now. In fact, television was so new that we were one of the few in the neighborhood that had one. Big blond cabinet with a picture about twelve inches in diameter, black and white of course.

As I recall it was a sunny and I’m thinking it could have been on a weekend day. Dinner time came and went and I never missed dinner. It was the rule. My parents wondered where I was. They searched the house and then they combed the neighborhood, talked to the neighbors; they talked to my friends, and contacted the police. Nobody could find me anywhere. Darkness was closed in and still they couldn’t find me. They were frantic. 

When I woke up, I noticed it was dark. My first thought was “boy I’m in trouble now”. I rolled out of the hammock and stumbled up the basement stairs to find out what all the commotion was about. I guess nobody bothered to look for me in the basement.  


Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Think I'm A Little Out Of Practice

I didn't have any real plan for today other than sitting on my butt and resting. I couldn't do that at home because I'm one of those people who sit in the chair looking out the window and seeing things I could be doing and then go out and do them. Besides, tomorrow Bob and I have plans to move all the rounds I have cut to the splitting pile. That would be three trees worth so I needed to save up my energy.

The logical thing to do would be drive up to Bear River Reservoir (it's only 20 miles from home) and with two rods out sit on a cushion on a nice flat rock and soak up some sun. 

I got to the lake at 0815 and with coffee in hand, stumbled down to a good spot and put out two lines with slip sinker rigs, rainbow Power Bait, and a dab of Pro-Cure sweet corn bait scent. My logic told me that with as hot as it's been any fish are going to be wayyyyyy down. I cut the leader to 14 inches, stuck on a wad of Power Bait and flung that sucker out as far as I could (about 150 feet). That would be both rods exactly the same, pretty much side by side.

I got my butt situated on a nice flat rock, grabbed my cup of coffee and waited. I would give it until 11:30 and then pack up and head home. Should be quite toasty by then. I had no expectations.  

At 8:40 the first hit came and I missed the set. Shortly another hit and I missed that one too. Like the title says, I'm a little out of practice with bait dunking since I've been fly fishing exclusively since the middle of May. Oh yeh, wanted to show you how calm the lake was.

Not a wind ripple in sight
After missing the first two, I did hook up on the third hit and it produced this 11 inch stocker rainbow. Since I've been very lax at keeping Bob's (you know Bob, I plow for fish) freezer full of fish this summer, I threw this one in a bucket full of ice for him. After all, I do need to keep his good will so my driveway will get plowed this winter. 

First fish of the day
The rest of the morning went something like this. Fish in the ice bucket, then one missed, then one more in the bucket, etc. I ended up bringing 6 to hand and kept 5 for Bob and turned the 6th one loose as it was a smaller one (probably 9 inches) and all the rest were 11 and 12 inchers. 

As I was packing up, a guy approached and asked if I could answer a couple of questions. Since I wasn't paying much attention, I didn't notice (until he was right next to me) that he was from the California Department of Fish & Game. Ooops. Not a Game Warden, just a guy taking a survey. Whew....Good thing I only had 5 (the limit) huh. He asked a couple of questions, measured all the fish, shot the shit for a while and then moved on to the people fishing down the way.

As on most trips I always find something to put on the window sill. Today it was a small bobber and one of those bell thingeys that a lot of people use to tell them a fish is biting on their line. Personally I've never had any trouble telling when a fish bites especially when the line snaps straight out from the tip of your rod, but hey, to each their own. 

Bobber and bell thingy
So that sums up a day of relaxing, Bob has five for his freezer, and I'm ready to move wood tomorrow. You saw the pile from two trees and we're adding three more. Should be quite the pile and I have to split it all as well, but that comes later.

I still have story #2 and will get that posted shortly. stay tuned.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tiger Creek The Mountain Goat Paradise

I had stopped by here earlier this year or possibly early last year (they all seem to run together now days) and the water was running about a category V on the International Scale of River Difficulty. Today, however it was about what I expected. Perfect fly fishing water.

This particular spot is designated to take out your raft that you put in at the dam site a couple of miles upstream, but not this time of year. It had steps dug into the rocks and cleats along the side of the steps to tie ropes on so as you wiz by you can grab the rope and pull yourself to the side.  

I walked to the bottom step and there is a huge pool right there. I put a green stimulator out on my fly rod and let it slowly drift down the pool. To get an idea of how big this pool is, I couldn't put the fly into somewhat fast moving water on either end of the pool. 

My next move was to a spot under the bridge. This entailed crawling over huge boulders (thus the Mountain Goat comment) and finally getting to a spot where I could, at least, get near the water.

On the way by, I took the three pictures from the base of the bridge just to give you an idea of the terrain.
Under the bridge to the left

Under the bridge across the creek

Under the bridge to the right
I did find a rock to stand on that was about two feet off the water and flat enough that I didn't feel I'd fall off it and started drifting the green stimulator. Got three hit and runs, but no hookups and then the bite stopped. I moved on upstream to the area below. There was a nice little pool with some moving water just begging to be fished with my Tenkara rod which I had in my back pocket. See, carry it in your back pocket and use as needed. How cool is that?

Further upstream
Couple of casts and the first fish of the day came to hand. This little Rainbow about seven inches. A quick photo op and back in the creek. 

First fish of the day
The second was a brown about 10 inches long and while I brought it to hand, it decided (while I was attempting to extricate my camera from my vest) that it wasn't sticking around for it's photo op and flopped itself back into the creek. It too was on my Tenkara rod.

I moved upstream again to the next pool and using my regular fly rod was able to bring two more small rainbows to hand. A lot of long distance casting on this creek.

On the way out I took the next two shots to give you an idea of how high this creek runs in the winter. Standing on a rock near the takeout spot I mentioned above, the first one is driftwood at about 10:00 o'clock and the second one is the river and it would be about 2:00 o'clock.    


With that, I think you can get the idea.  I only fished this creek for an hour and a half. That was all I was able to give, negotiating the rocks that ranged from basketball size to SUV sized, to the size of a house. I'm just not the Mountain Goat I used to be. After all on 8-8 (tomorrow) I will be 66. 

Till the next story. "The weekend I disappeared".


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Story #1 Just To Whet Your Appetite

I'm starting the stories with one from when I was just a young whippersnapper (Like that word?) still living in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  

If you go out to Google Maps and look at the satellite map for Southport Park in Kenosha, it shows this beautiful sandy beach surrounded by rocks to hold back the waves of Lake Michigan. The Southport Beach House (Now on the Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places) is a beautiful rock faced building with stunning architectural design front and back.

Southport Beach House
The beach house is an eclectic mix of popular architectural styles. The east side combines Tudor window details with Mediterranean arches, while the symmetry and mass of the west side show Classical Revival influences. The interior features an incongruously modern Art Deco ballroom with abstract, geometric ornamentation executed in paint, raised plaster, and aluminum banding applied to the walls and ceiling. It’s a place where you would be proud to go for parties and public events. The description of the beach house is courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society. They say it better than I ever could.    

When I lived there in the late 40’s and early 50’s the place was a stone building with no doors, no windows, and only used for changing into your bathing suits. It was wet and smelled of urine all the time, but what did we know, we were just kids. On the lake side there were two breakwaters that ran out from the beach. On the left, it ran out and then 45’d to the right. On the right it ran out and 45’d to the left leaving an opening for a boat to come in, although I never saw a boat there. The breakwater is the place I mentioned in “Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair” as the place I learned to swim courtesy of my brother. 

We spent a lot of time in the summer on the breakwater fishing and swimming. It consisted of humongous rocks stacked on top of each other making a pier of sorts. It was fifteen, maybe twenty feet wide and a couple hundred feet out into the lake. If you know kids, then you know that if there was something to find, kids would find it. What was found was a tunnel from one side of the breakwater to the other side, underwater. The goal, swim through the tunnel. Did I swim through? No, but you can be assured that I tried, but keep in mind that I was only nine when we moved to Florida. Had I been older? Who knows what would have happened.

On one particular day I was instructed to stay home and not go to the park, although I don’t recall the reason. I’m sure it had to do with something bad I had already done, but did that stop me from going to the park. Well you know the answer to that question. Did I pay for my transgression? Of course I did. While I was at the park, I jumped off the seawall onto the beach and managed to land on the only rock in the entire City of Kenosha. I also managed to chip the bone in my heel, something I wasn’t able to hide for very long. Punishment was soon to follow. I might add, and you will think this can’t be right after all you’ve read about me, it was the only bone I’ve ever broken. It wasn’t that I was naughty, or bad, or evil, or mean, I just didn’t listen. 

If you’ve ever visited or lived in the Mid-West near one of the Great Lakes, you know that the water never gets really warm. Swimming in Lake Michigan in the summer meant water in the 60 degree range and if it ever got to 70, look out, the beaches were packed. So every once in a while my mother (she was a stay-at-home mom) would take us out to one of the inland lakes to go swimming. Water was probably in the low 80’s and felt like bath water. Being born with a mask on my face and snorkel in my mouth, I was in heaven when we went to these lakes. From the minute we got there until the minute we left, I was face down in the lake. Of course my mother always wanted to leave hours before I was ready to go, so she would stand on the beach or pier (if there was one) and call and call and call for me to come in and get ready to head home. See, I had hearing problems even at that young age. The cool thing about snorkeling in one of those inland lakes is that you can see all the Bluegill just waiting to be caught, but this was a swimming trip and fishing would come later.

Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

More Of Mark's Stories Not In My Book

When I wrote Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair, I put together as many stories as I could remember at the time. Since then I’ve remembered a few more that I’ve decided I wanted to put into my next book, but found I don’t have enough to write another book. Like most things in your life, one memory triggers another memory which triggers more memories. So as I’ve thought about the stories from “Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair” and I put the new stories into separate chapters and will put them out here as separate posts. 

Like “Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair”, this is about the same sixty plus years with adventures in Wisconsin, Florida, and California. Hopefully with these stories I can relate the rest of the crazy and stupid things I did while growing up, as a young adult, and as a grown man. Just for good measure I’ll throw in some more reasons why my mother’s hair turned gray and some family stories. 

There will be times while you read these that you’ll wonder “What the hell was wrong with him? What was he thinking? Is there something wrong with him?” That’s OK; you have my permission to think that way because when I look back and wonder the same things about myself. 

Like the book, I’ll be talking about some places that don’t exist any longer, and in doing so, I’ll try to give you a perspective of what the place looked like then and where it is in relation to that place today. A lot of changes have taken place as the years roll by, but only if you’ve been there do you remember what it once was. If you’re a Geezer like I am then you know what I’m talking about. If you’re young, look around. Is it the same as it was five or ten years ago, probably not.

About thirty years ago I started a novel in the fictional hero mode and it’s still around stuck in limbo for now, but I’ve found I like telling stories better if they have a “real life” feel to them. So this time instead of sitting in a comfortable chair and fastening your seat belt, get a cup of coffee or an adult beverage and let’s look at some more stupid things I’ve done and I still, to this day, wonder how I survived this long or at least why I’m not sitting in prison somewhere. Don’t be alarmed, I didn’t kill anybody or anything like that, but I know someone who did and we’ll get to that later.

Keep in mind that some of the stories I’m relating are from my memory and if anyone detects any defects in them, they are what my memory serves me with and that alone. Once you’ve read a few of these, if you haven’t already purchased my book, Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair, maybe you’ll want to get a copy just to see what other stupid things I’ve done. 

I’ll spread these stories out in between fishing adventures. After all, this is a fishing blog.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Today was a day of some fishing, but mostly recon.  I picked up my neighbor Roy at 0730 and we met his son Don up the road from the house. With coffee in hand, we began our trek to the "secret" places that Don knows.  

The first stop was just below a dam and there were fish feeding on the surface, but for the life of me I couldn't see what they were feeding on. So logic told me to put a Baetis dry on a see what happens. I threw to this fish and that fish, but all offers were ignored. 

So I wandered out to the T part of the "dam" below and cast to the edge of the bushes on the other side. I guess I should mention that I was using my regular fly rod, not Tenkara. I managed one hit and run, but that was it. I walked a little downstream to see if I could get any interest there and I found what was hatching. Only problem, what ever it was was so small I couldn't even tell what it was. Had to be at least a 23 or smaller.

First stop
The second spot was more tailwater below another dam. I'd tell you where, but again I'm under threat of death not to divulge the location. I'm sure you can understand by the brown in the picture below. I can't believe I had those towels in my belt when I took this picture, but it's something needed to dry flies although I took this brown on a spinning rod with a black Panther Martin.

Stupid towel picture
On another day I will be standing in the river waving a stick for more browns like this one.

On to secret spot #3. 
The dam

High Mountain "Lake"
I fished this with a Thin Mint and a just for kicks a Dave's Hopper, but didn't get any interest. Oh yeh, the second picture is the inlet to the lake. We weren't here very long and like all lakes, it takes time to learn the lake. I do have some ideas and the rumor is big browns. Don did get one hit bottom bouncing a crawler up the inlet a ways. Unfortunately it is a "no contact" lake so no Float Tube Cumberland here.  

On the way back down the hill we stopped and scoped out a small creek that is just Tenkara intensive. I'll hit that on the next trip up and see if there is anything there.

I know this is not my usual "tell everything" post, but I prefer to keep my body intact for the next fishing trip. So thanks for understanding and I'll keep you updated on how the future trips go. This is kind of like Mizlan over at Dark Art Caster and his Village X. All the best places are hush hush. 

Till next time.